S.C. Legislative Report with Rep. Burns: Education reform, protecting teens from vaping, more

By S.C. Dist. 17 Rep. Mike Burns:

Overview of the week:

This week several different groups made trips to the State House. It was great to be able to meet with each of them and discuss many of the important issues that we’re dealing with this session. On Tuesday, teachers from across the state came to talk about teacher pay, fewer mandatory tests and ideas to allow them more time to teach. UofSC impact day was on Wednesday when students visited the Higher Education Subcommittee to discuss issues important to colleges and technical schools. We also welcomed EMT’s, the National Guard and high school students this week as well.

(Advertisement. Continue reading below.)

Making the right steps towards education reform

The first public hearing for the comprehensive education reform bill was held on Wednesday. Speaker Jay Lucas began the hearing by explaining that the bill is a starting point and asked for the public’s input to fine-tune this important legislation. 

The K-12 education subcommittee listened to compelling testimony from county officials, teachers and parents across the state to find ways to incorporate their ideas into the bill. 

The Senate made strides towards education reform this week as well. Their bills, which will soon head to the House, will reduce the amount of paperwork for teachers and students in an effort to improve quality time in the classroom. 

Public Input Needed: House Speaker Jay Lucas is requesting public input for the education reform bill with a hearing on February 12 at 5 pm.  If you cannot attend, please fill out this survey: https://goo.gl/forms/AoM1yVpyr7hR43a02

Funding for local governments makes progress

On Thursday, the House unanimously passed the Local Government Fund which provides counties and municipalities a steady and stable source of state funding for required state mandated activities. (More information: https://www.scstatehouse.gov/billsearch.php?billnumbers=3137&session=123&summary=B)

Protecting teens from vaping

A bill to protect teens from vaping passed out of the judiciary committee on Wednesday and will continue to the House floor for a vote. This bill bans vaping on public school property and makes it illegal for children under 18 to enter a vape shop without an adult.

Tax Cuts for SC military retirees

In an effort to attract more military retirees to South Carolina the House Ways and Means Committee has proposed a bill that exempts retirement income for more than 38,000 retired veterans from being taxed. By giving veterans a tax cut, the state revenue could potentially increase as the economy grows with more retirees and their families moving to the state.

Exceptional needs tax credit

On Thursday, a bill to increase the tax credit for exceptional needs programs was scheduled for a third reading. This bill aims to increase funding for programs that help families with special needs children seek out the educational opportunities that best fit their kids.

Thank you for the privilege of serving you in Columbia. If I can ever be of assistance to you, or if you have ideas on issues you want me to share with the rest of the General Assembly, please don't hesitate to contact me.

– Rep. Mike Burns


Stay connected with the Tribune: FacebookTwitterInstagramiOnGreenville

Subscribe to the Tribune's free, weekly eNews.